Brendan Gaughan has spent the majority of his NASCAR career in the Camping World Truck Series. Since 1999 he has had 200 starts and collected 8 victories. He had one lone season (2004) in the Sprint Cup Series and ran two full seasons (2009-2010) in the Nationwide Series. Is running the Truck Series again full-time what he had envisioned for his career?
“I don’t regret anything in my career. Shane Wilson [and I] had a lot of buzz about us in the early 2000s, we won a lot of races, we went to Penske [Racing] and things looked good. It didn’t work out that way. This sport is so much about equipment, but for me I was so focused on wanting to own my own team and do it my way. I’m proud the way I did it, but now I’m really happy to be at a place [Richard Childress Racing] that has great equipment,” Gaughan told Start ‘N’ Park Blog in an exclusive interview Friday morning at Watkins Glen International.
There was a time when Richard Childress Racing didn’t seem to have the best equipment. That has changed and the team fields entries in all three series and they are up front on a regular basis in all three series.
“You know this is the best equipment I’ve ever had by far in the last 10 years. So to me it’s made life so much easier. I don’t have to sweat what’s being put on the track, I don’t have to question what the crew chiefs do. I have great crew chiefs, every series I run in.”
Helping out keeping all the entries fast is having great people in the organization to work on them. Each series he runs, Gaughan has a different crew chief, but there’s a common theme to them. They’re all winners.
“When I was in Sprint Cup last year I had Gil Martin, when I’m in Nationwide I have Ernie Cope, and when I’m in the Trucks I have Shane Wilson. I’m sitting in the best spot of my career, so what it’s later in life. I wanna kick some ass later in life. I want to run great, win some races, and I’m going to last as long as I can doing what I love.”
When pressed on where he’d want to be racing, Trucks, Nationwide, or Sprint Cup, Gaughan didn’t care where he was. There just had to be one thing.
“I don’t care what series it is, all I want is good equipment. I don’t care if I’m in Cup, in good equipment, we’ll run for championships. If I’m in Nationwide, in good equipment, we’ll run for championships. If I’m in Trucks, in good equipment like we are, we’ll run for championships and wins…That’s all I’m going to do the rest of my career.”
On the health of the Camping World Truck Series, Gaughan was pleased with the direction that NASCAR has gone with it. Specifically he had a lot of fun with the race held at Eldora Speedway a few weeks back. It was the first dirt race run by NASCAR in over forty years. “I applaud NASCAR for the balls it took to add a dirt track to the Truck schedule.” Another addition to the schedule he is looking forward to is the September 1st race at Canadian Tire Park, the first road course race in over a decade for the series.
On the opposite side, one thing he does not like is the current schedule length of 22 races.
“The Truck Series needs more races, 22 races is not enough to give value to a sponsor. And it doesn’t save us any money having less than 25 races. Get us back to 25 races. If they want to do it at big tracks, that’s great. If they want to do it at road courses, that’s great. Dirt tracks, great, short tracks, great, don’t care. Just take us to places that deserve to have professional races at them. Some places don’t, some places do, some places want it, and it’s like you look and you don’t want to go back to 1960s facilities. Let’s go to places that have great facilities like Motor Mile [Radford, VA]. It’s a beautiful short track, the facilities are great for fans, it’s a good looking short track. Go to places that have nice facilities, that take care of the fans, and have enough room for us to do what we do best with pit roads and all of that. Don’t just add a date because you need a date.”
The Truck Series is off this weekend, but you can catch Gaughan running the #33 South Point Casino Chevrolet later today. He will start from the <start> position and you can catch the action starting at 2 PM EST on ABC when the Nationwide Series runs the Zippo 200 from Watkins Glen International.